House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned President Joe Biden that he faces ‘a day of reckoning’ over the Afghanistan crisis on Friday and appeared to hint at possible impeachment proceedings after Americans were evacuated from the Taliban-controlled country.
‘Look, I’m extremely frustrated with this president,’ McCarthy said in a press conference.
He said a president needs to have ‘the faith, the trust, and the confidence’ of Americans – which he said Biden lost on Thursday after a devastating attack on Kabul airport slaughtered at least 170 people and 13 US troops.
A suicide attack by ISIS-K near the Abbey Gate checkpoint of Hamid Karzai International Airport killed and injured hundreds and took the lives of 10 US Marines.
‘There will be a day of reckoning, and we have a constitutional right,’ the Republican lawmaker threatened.
But for now, McCarthy said the main focus should be evacuating Americans still stranded in Afghanistan.
McCarthy seemed to hint at future Republican-backed impeachment motions in a Thursday press conference
‘When that day passes, we can take up anything that – to hold accountable for the actions that have been taken, the lies that have been given, the mis-decisions that put Americans in harm’s way, and the decision to leave Americans behind,’ he said.
‘That choice and that answer should never be given by the president of the United States.’
He also criticized Biden over his August 31 deadline for a full withdrawal – a decision that came despite pleas from fellow heads of state and lawmakers here at home.
‘Why would President Biden pick the Taliban over our allies ands over Americans?’ he questioned.
Republican Rep. Peter Meijer also heckled Biden’s handling of the chaos in Afghanistan late Thursday night, and urged Congress to reclaim its war powers authority to prevent future crises.
After the deadly blasts at Kabul airport Meijer posted on Twitter grieving the loss of 13 US service members in the ‘horrific attack’ on Kabul airport Thursday.
Rep. Peter Meijer, a veteran, sent condolences to the families of service members killed in the deadly Kabul airport blasts Thursday and blamed Biden’s ‘reckless withdrawal’
Afghans lie on beds at a hospital after they were wounded in the deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul
The dead body of an Afghan is laid on the ground at a hospital in Kabul on August 27, the day after the explosions
The day after the explosions Taliban forces remain blocking the roads around the airport
He said his ‘heart is absolutely broken’ for the families of the fallen troops and their fellow troops.
‘On Tuesday I saw Marines bravely managing chaos at Abbey Gate. Today, the grave risk they took to save countless lives was made terribly clear,’ Meijer wrote on Twitter, referencing a widely criticized trip he and Rep. Seth Moulton took to the airport amid the evacuation effort.
‘This was a position they should not have been in, but President Biden’s reckless withdrawal gave them no other choice.’
‘Congress needs to reclaim its authority over war powers to ensure such a catastrophe never happens again.’
The Constitutional duty to formally declare war belongs to Congress, but measures passed under the George W. Bush administration expanded the president’s authority to conduct military operations abroad.
Meijer, a veteran, penned an op-ed with two other lawmakers in May also calling for Congress to repeal the authorizations for use of military force.
Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a vocal critic of the Biden administration, went a step further and asked Vice President Kamala Harris to take on the ‘grim remedy’ of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Biden from office.
Rep. Peter Meijer (left) and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (right) are just two of the lawmakers criticizing Biden for the chaos in Afghanistan
A letter from GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn to Vice President Kamala Harris asks her to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Biden from power
Biden vowed retribution against those responsible for carrying out the Kabul airport attacks in a speech on Thursday
‘As the person that works closest with the President, you are also the one who best knows the differences between the perception the West Wing wants to project and the ugly reality,’ he wrote Wednesday. ‘I have become increasingly convinced of what you already know, President Biden is no longer capable of discharging the duties of his office.’
Under Biden’s watch Cawthorn said the US has seen ‘an undefended border,’ ‘rising inflation’ and ‘American honor being lost in a craven retreat from the Taliban.’
‘The crises that I mentioned above requires a President that is operating at the peak of his cognitive powers. It seems obvious now that this is no longer the case,’ he wrote.
On those grounds, he asked Harris to ‘find the courage’ to initiate the process of booting Biden from office.
Harris, who only recently returned to the US after a diplomatic tour in Southeast Asia, released a statement Thursday night honoring the victims of the deadly Kabul attack.
‘Doug and I grieve for the Americans we lost, we pray for the Americans injured in the attack, and our hearts go out to their loved ones. We also grieve for the Afghan civilians killed and injured,’ the vice president said.
Rep. Brian Mast also questioned Biden’s mental capabilities in a CNN interview on Thursday night.
Rep. Brian Mast said Biden’s promise for revenge is ‘as hollow as his head’ in a Thursday CNN interview
U.S. soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division escort evacuees to buses for onward movement during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 25
U.S Sky Dragon soldiers help Afghan evacuees at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 24
Asked about Biden’s promise to hold the Kabul airport attackers responsible, the lawmaker said ‘his words are as hollow as his heart and his head.’
Mast said he was filled with ‘rage’ at the president for his handling of the crisis.
Biden on his part vowed retribution to those responsible in a speech on Thursday.
‘To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget,’ he said.
‘We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command.’
But American voters’ confidence that Biden can stick by his duty in the face of his looming withdrawal deadline is slipping.
The president’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 47.2 percent on Friday, according to data aggregator FiveThirtyEight.
A majority of respondents to YouGov poll conducted this week ‘strongly disapprove’ of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan.
In line with GOP lawmakers, 77 percent of Republicans expressed strong disapproval – less than 10 percent view it favorably at all.